BRUNSWICK — Following a number of complaints about train noise, Brunswick has tasked an engineering firm with examining the feasibility of quiet zones in town.
Gorrill Palmer Consulting Engineers has been examining what each crossing zone would require to meet Federal Rail Administration standards to enable a quiet zone. Quiet zones allow train engineers to choose whether or not to use their horn at a crossing, where typically it is required to be blown every time they cross a road.

At a train workshop Nov. 14, Norma Jean Griffiths of the FRA outlined the ways a crossing can be changed to allow for quiet zones.
The biggest issue, said Griffiths, is eliminating the additional risk not blowing the horn brings with it.

“It increases the risk of a crossing collusion by 66.8 percent,” she said. “Public authorities that want to establish a quiet zone have to mitigate that risk.”
According to Town Manager John Eldridge, Gorrill Palmer has been performing calculations on each rail crossing, based on FRA standards, to determine what mitigation would be needed and how much that might cost. Any additional crossing safety mechanisms or changes would be paid for by the town.

“When we get the report we’ll have a better idea,” said Eldridge.

An earlier attempt to institute a quiet zone failed after Pan Am Railways, who operates a freight line along the route, objected to the calculations used in establishing the quiet zone.

According to the town, the report will likely be available some time in December.